December 31, 2009
Judge Censured For Improper Recusals
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has censured a Cattaraugas County judge for recusing himself in 11 matters not because of a legitimate basis in law but rather as a "tactic" and "weapon" to further his interest in obtaining legislative approval for a judicial pay raise.
The commission concluded that the misconduct was exacerbated by the judge sending a series of blast emails to other judges by hitting the "reply all" response to e-mail sent from a court web server. The e-mails encouraged judges to similarly recuse themselves and chided those who would not as "gutless" and "wimp[s]." The judge said that such judges needed to "grow some stones." Another e-mail called city judges "wusses." He also had referred to the state Assembly Speaker, a party to the pay raise litigation, as a "slug."
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